Genre: Beat-‘Em-Up Developer: Namco Publisher: Namco Players: 1 Released: 1994
Arising from the mediocrity that was Splatterhouse 2 came a sequel with that packed a little more punch and bled a little more blood. Namco picked up the rusty and cranky gameplay and polished it up a lot, creating not only the best in the series but also a great beat-em-up that was absolutely crammed to the fullest with challenge, a ton of unforgettable action, and most importantly a pile of unnecessary violence and gore.
The story of the Splatterhouse series followed the tormented soul Rick, who was a student in Para-psychology. He and his girlfriend Jennifer were researching a certain topic that brought out a great evil upon them, unleashing a ton of demons and monsters into the world. This evil force then kidnapped Jennifer. Rick found some unexpected help from a ancient mask that took over his body, increasing his rage and ferocity. Rick then basically went around ploughing through hordes of monsters, kicking the hell out of them with his fists and any other weapon he found lying around in a desperate attempt to save his girl.
The third in the series was pretty much the same but was about Rick and his family moving to a new mansion in order to escape from the terrors that haunted them. This time thought the creatures came back in and a satanic creature known only as The Dark One (ooh! I like saying that!) decides to perform some ritual involving Rick’s family which will probably doom the world etc. So Rick dons the Hell Mask again in order to save his kidnapped son and wife and stop the Dark One from turning the world into Satan’s backyard.
The other Splatterhouse games involved you walking in one direction and punching the first thing that game at you. Most things died almost instantly and Rick only had a few moves to pull off in order to combat creatures. In Splatterhouse 3 the game is somewhat improved, allowing Rick to have more freedom to move around and with the ability to move around the whole screen instead of simply from left to right all of the time. Rick can perform combos on enemies and do a lot more damage than before with an array of kicks and punches to pummel bad guys to bits.
You start on the first floor of the Mansion and work your way through all the floors until you eventually head down to the basement to face The Dark One and something else even more blood-churning and plot-twisting than ever before. Every floor has multiple rooms for you to go through and most rooms contain a host of beasts for you to rip to shreds. You will be given a map, which will show you which route to take and you’ll have to get to that point in five minutes or the family member that you are trying to save will die. You’ll have to follow the map from room to room until you get to end where you will face a boss (the final result will depend on if you rescue Jennifer and your son David).
You can pick up a variety of weapons and other objects to aid you in your quest. Blood stained baseball bats, cleavers and pipes will lie around various areas of the game. Picking a weapon will ultimately give you a nice advantage over creatures. After punching an enemy for a while there is nothing more exciting than smashing a zombies head in, with blood splattering all over the place in delicious splendour.
No shotguns though. With shotguns this game would’ve been over the edge!
One new feature though that made the game even more brutal and gory than ever was the ability to use the mask to mutate into a bulky monster so you smash a beast’s head in with two punches. If you find a blue orb lying on the floor and pick it up, it will increase your power gauge. When full, you can press A to mutate into this monster. It’s best to charge the power gauge to the top and use the mutation to fight the boss of the floor because it sure makes them a lot easier.
The ghoulish creatures range from hideous headless zombies that can be taken down in a few punches or swings to others are overweight creatures with humongous jaws that clamp down with fury. Beaked creatures will slide across the floor, tackling you down. Other monsters will rise up from pools of blood and attack with claws. You can smash their heads in with a ton of punches and with two baseball swings you’ll have no bother. Some bosses are…odd, to say the least. For example, one monster who enjoys playing with himself sits in a corner full of dismembered body parts. Another is a teddy bear that floats around the room before sprouting legs and hopping around like a madman. The last boss is something that was really unexpected and definitely something that you should play to end of the game to see as it concludes the Splatterhouse series permanently and it all makes sense.
Splatterhouse 3 is easily the best in the trilogy. The enhanced features in the gameplay and more demonic story makes the game a lot more fun to play. If you like violent games then don’t miss out on Splatterhouse 3, as it’s the cream of the crop when it comes to 16-bit beat em ups and is easily more fun than Final Fight or Streets of Rage. However if you aren’t a fan of distressing deaths and piles and piles of fun and gory fights then Splatterhouse isn’t for you. However, if you’re man enough to play through this gore-fest and conquer the immense difficulty then it should be in your collection.
Too bad about the shotgun though, eh?
SCORE: 8 out of 10